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Cruelty-Free: What Does This Mean?

As an animal lover, the first thing you probably look for in a product is if it's cruelty-free. We see this term printed on certain product packaging. We also hear it a lot from beauty bloggers. 

But what exactly does it mean?

The animal rights movement defines this term as a label used on products that are manufactured without harming or killing animals. Therefore, the product is not tested on animals. So, if you really love animals, you will only purchase cruelty-free skincare products, such as the ones from Buddha Beauty.

What is animal testing and why does it happen?

Animal testing refers to any experiment or test conducted on living animals for the purpose of research. And because society deems it unethical to test a new drug or surgical procedure first on humans in the event that it causes more harm than good, they use animals for testing to make sure that it is safe and effective. However, these tests expose animals to undue pain, distress, and suffering. As if torturing them is not enough, most of these poor creatures are killed after the experiment.


Fortunately, a lot of people are becoming aware of these inhumane tests and are starting to fight against the unethical practice. That's also the reason why more and more people are starting to patronise vegan brands like the Buddha Beauty company over other brands that are not cruelty-free.

Is animal testing prevalent in the beauty industry?

Many countries, like the United Kingdom, have banned animal testing procedures on cosmetic products—and many more have followed suit like South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, and New Zealand. And in light of this ban, more and more vegan brands are being established like the Vegan Bunny. 

However, there are still many countries that allow it like China. In fact, cosmetic brands are required by law in China to have their products tested on animals before they can sell to the Chinese market. And because it is a very large market, some renowned cruelty-free brands have capitulated to this rule. Hence, they can no longer be considered cruelty-free.

Why is animal testing atrocious and unnecessary?

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If you know what goes on during animal testing, then you'd know just how cruel it is. Here are just some of the common procedures that happen during animal testing.

  • Forced exposure to chemicals for testing toxicity, which may include forced inhalation, oral force-feeding, or injection of chemicals 
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Surgical removal of an animal's tissues or organs for testing
  • Water and food deprivation

Completely eliminating animal testing means we have a lot more work to do to find other methods of testing. But we can do our own little parts by ditching regular skincare products for something vegan and cruelty-free, such as a vegan face mask.

Are there cruelty-free alternatives to animal testing?

Animal testing has always been the norm when it comes to testing a new drug or cosmetic product. But did you know that there are many cruelty-free alternatives and that they are actually often cheaper, more effective, and quicker? 

Of course, replacing animal tests doesn't mean halting medical progress or putting human patients at risk. Instead, it actually helps improve the quality of science, as well as its humaneness. 

Fortunately, due to technological advancements, many cruelty-free alternatives have been created to replace animal testing. Some of these alternative testing procedures include:

  • In vitro testing or the growth of human cells in a laboratory for testing
  • Testing on donated human tissues
  • Use of computer models of the human organs, such as the lungs, heart, skin, and kidney, as well as the musculoskeletal and digestive systems
  • Microdosing in human volunteers is an innovative technique used to measure the effects of potential new drugs in the human body by introducing very small doses to the volunteer  

The Draize skin irritation test done using rabbits only predict human skin reactions by up to 60% of the time. But by using reconstituted human skin, the accuracy increases up to 86%. Likewise, the standard tests done on pregnant rats to see if drugs of chemicals have any negative effects on the development of the baby can only detect up to 60% of dangerous substances. In comparison, a cell-based alternative has an accuracy of 100% at detecting toxic chemicals.

These numbers show that alternative testing methods are better. But why do people stick with animal testing? It's because this is what they're used to--and it's more comfortable and easier to do what has always been done.

So if we support cruelty-free and vegan companies like Buddha Beauty more, there will be less demand for cosmetics and skincare products tested on animals. Let's all do our part in eradicating this barbaric practice.


This article is sponsored by DFW Printing, where you can get the best local magazine printing services, and the vegan marketers at Ardor SEO, who are both in support of mindful businesses like KindLiving Supermarket. Visit their site to learn more about the changes you can make in your life or business to be more sustainable.

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